Osteopenia seen in testosterone-deficient women with AIDS wasting

Women with AIDS wasting and relatively low levels of testosterone exhibit decreased bone mineral density, report investigators at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Dr. Steven Grinspoon and associates compared 28 women with AIDS wasting and free testosterone levels of 3 pg/mL or lower, with 21 healthy control subjects matched for age and body mass index (BMI). Mean muscle mass was 16.0 kg and 21.0 kg, respectively, in the two groups.

Levels of oestrogen, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone were similar between the two groups, the researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism for August. Free testosterone levels, as well as the free androgen index, were significantly reduced in the HIV-infected women compared with control subjects (p = 0.05 and 0.01, respectively).

The women with AIDS wasting had reduced lumbar spine, hip, and total body bone density and increased bone resorption compared with the control group. Lumbar spine density strongly correlated with muscle mass but not testosterone, Dr. Grinspoon and colleagues report. However, “testosterone administration may have important indirect effects by increasing muscle mass in this sarcopenic population, ” the investigators suggest.


Huang JS et al. Reduced bone density in androgen-deficient women with acquired immune deficiency syndrome wasting. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2001;86:3533-3539.

Source: Reuters Health

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